The fires blew in ahead of schedule and were gone, and next came the dust and then the storms and then the hail. We unplugged the downpipes we had plugged, scooped dead insects from the pond. Each afternoon you dug out the jews harp I gave you the year we turned twelve and had it hum and buzz that Nick Cave song about loyalty, the one we danced to, off our tits, the year we turned eighteen. Holding the music in your mouth, breathing out the song. They phone to tell us the funnel webs are on the move, and we laugh it off, say everyone is on the move. Still, the world is growing bigger. I am building a sleeping platform between the shivered trunks of trees while you craft a halcyon garden using only pebbles and ash. They phone to tell us the fires have turned and are heading back our way, and we laugh it off, say that’s not very likely now is it.
Listen to Jen reading ‘Refusing disaster (a survival plan)’ (1:30)
Jen Webb is Dean of Graduate Research at the University of Canberra, and co-editor of the scholarly journal Axon: Creative Explorations and the literary journal Meniscus. She researches creativity and culture, and her most recent poetry collections are Sentences from the Archive, and Moving Targets (Recent Work Press, 2016, 2018).
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